San Luis Obispo High School head football coach Pat Johnston has seen first-hand how a team can go from winless to the playoffs in one year.
When Johnston was at Carmel High, he was part of a team that went 0-10. The next season, the Padres went 8-2 and made the playoffs for the first time in 20 years.
“I only tell them that story to tell them that it is possible,” Johnston said at practice last week. “No one cared about our football team, then we saw a change in campus. It’s amazing what football can do to set the tone for the whole school year. This campus could sure use that.”
The playoff drought at SLO High hasn’t been that long. The Tigers last qualified for the postseason in 2012, but their teams since have put up a 8-32 record. With a standout at running back and a roster that has filled out to provide some much-needed depth, SLO High is looking to turn it around this season.
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“I am ready to show this city that we can compete in the PAC 5,” SLO High senior Wayne Garcia said. “I am ready to win some games. This ain’t going to be a repeat of last year.”
San Luis Obispo at a glance
2016 record: 0-10 overall, 0-4 PAC 5
Garcia summed up 2016: “Last year, I felt like we were more calm... more soft in hitting. We didn’t have a lot of numbers. It was just a bad season for SLO.”
Javon Montgomery (RB/WR), Brendan Avila (OL), Tegan Rawlins (TE, LB)
Montgomery filled in as a wildcat quarterback last season when starter William Meinhold went down with an injury and had five rushing touchdowns.
Pierson Mosichuk (RB/DB, Sr.), Daniel Duffy (LB/TE, Sr.), Wayne Garcia (OL, Sr.), Jacob Rodriguez (OL/DL, Sr.)
Mosichuk, who has been the starter since his sophomore season, added around 30 pounds to his frame and comes into the season at 200 pounds. He seems ready to be the centerpiece of the offense. Garcia and Rodriguez, both guards, are three-year starters who will clear the way. Duffy, along with junior Matthew Shetler, will be starters at linebacker, a position that Johnston calls a strength of the team.
Under The Radar
Dalen Righetti (QB, Jr.), Garner Dubois (QB, Jr.), Emilio Corona (DB, Soph.), Christian Clegg (WR/FS, Soph.)
Righetti and Dubois have been competing for the starting quarterback spot. Johnston said one of the juniors has pulled ahead, but he wasn’t ready to declare a starter. Corona, a transfer from Mission Prep and younger brother of standout Royals running back Brayden, has to sit out half the season due to transfer rules. But he has the athletic ability to make a difference when he does see the field. Clegg is a transfer from Liberty (Bakersfield) and will be part of a secondary that has improved its size and depth from last season.
@Morro Bay (9/15), Righetti (10/6)
CIF-SS Power Ranking
Division 10, No. 232
The Tribune 2017 prep football preview
Over the coming days, The Tribune will roll out its 2017 high school football preview looking at teams, top players and story lines from San Luis Obispo County schools leading to the opening of the season Friday. Find new daily content online at sanluisobispo.com/sports and in the Sports section.